Main Logo In My Humble Opinion
Contents In My Humble Opinion, or IMHO, is what other, less-imaginative magazines would term "the letters page". This is your forum for telling us, and the world, what you think of Critical Miss, roleplaying, or perhaps life in general.

So that you can figure out who's saying what, we've coloured the text. This is Jonny, and this is Bubba.

And the Freaks come out...

D5A1V1E wrote:

I recently read your excellent third issue. I laughed out loud at the "Fried in Florida" section of "Ask Doctor Bubba". I have a little story that this reminded me of, concerning one of my ex-players. (I DM and play 2nd-edition AD&D when I have the opportunity.)

John was of the "munchkin" school of gaming, preferring to play chaotic-neutral priests of war or dwarven battleragers; his usual response to "describe your character's personality" being, "he's a bad-ass moe-foe and a real buttkicker who doesn't take any shit from anybody".

He had that fantasy terminology down pat then.

The first and only session I ran with John, his first character lasted about fifteen minutes. The character sought out the biggest dragon he could find and immediately started sassing it.

John: "You wanna piece of me? Do ya?"

Dragon: "Surely this mortal isn't serious."

John: "You talkin' to me? I don't see anyone else around here!"

Dragon: (Fwooosh!)

The next four hours were a repetitive cycle of John rolling up new characters and seeking out the dragon, then getting them roasted. I suggested to him that perhaps he should find some less powerful opponents, but he claimed that sooner or later he would get lucky, and then his character would have all kinds of experience points as well as the dragon's treasure hoard. Finally I told him flat out, "Look, man, there's no conceivable way a first-level fighter can take down this fifty-foot flame-breathing reptile. You have no chance, you're wasting your time." He refused to accept this advice and continued the dreary cycle. John was not invited to any later sessions.

John was also known (outside of the game) for a little trick he had mastered involving holding the tip of his index finger in the flame of a lighter until it made a sizzling noise and steam began to issue from under his blackened fingernail. When I first saw this demonstration I asked him (with my mouth hanging open in shock), "doesn't that HURT?!?".

His answer was, "It hurt the first ten or so times I did it, but it doesn't anymore."


Morgue wrote:

I hate Maths! If you like me don't want to read this dribble about Percentiles click here!

I just want to be one of the dozens and dozens of people who remind the ranter that setting 00 as 100 means that a 50% chance of success involves rolling 01 to 50 on the dice.

If we set 00 as zero, a 50% chance is a result of 00 to 49.

I know which is the easier system to understand. And I have seen systems which use 00 as zero (I'll try and search one out when I get home), and it's a big pain in the bum.


While I'm here, like your zine. However I do get frustrated by the lack of _length_ of your articles. I know it's just a personal thing rather than some in-depth investigative thingie, but, for example, the article about RPGs being low-money thus making the industry a small and fragile thing - I really wanted the author to have contacted lots of people in the industry for their comments, talked to games shops owners, that kind of thing. Note that this is not me whinging about the lack of effort on your part - rather it's a general longing for bigger, more in-depth articles everywhere on the web.

To be honest, we're not a real investigative type team. The magazine is basically a mixture of hopefully humorous stuff mixed in with a few offhand thoughts. That and the fact that we don't really have any contacts. But fair point, anyway.


But mostly I wanted to be one of the people who pointed out the percentiles thing.


James Waller wrote:

There isn't enough profanity in the English language to describe how vehemently I agree with your thesis. It is, in fact, a more eloquent vocalization of what my friends and I have come to understand since puberty. Women want men who will treat them like flaming dog-shit.

I always thought that Flaming was optional...

As a corrollary to your editorial, I would like to offer the following thought. If a woman sleeps with a man, finding him to be a pleasing and sexual creature, and THEN discovers that he's a nice guy that cries at movies and likes puppy dogs, well, this man becomes a major deity to her.


If a man lets a woman discover that he can be sensitive before she discovers that he can be a great lover, she'll never give him the opportunity to prove it.

Also, kudos on a great zine. Intelligence, creativity, and the ability to make somebody piss themselves at the keyboard are rare traits.

Thanks. We aim to please.

A certain Mr Dark wrote:

I go ahead and start this off with the usual praise for your great web zine.

I have just started to read internet magazines and yours was one of the first that I had the chance to read. I would say most of the players I have met fall into the category of disfunctional. ( know of a few GM's as well... )

Anyway, as the title of my e-mail suggests, I would like to focus upon the construction of a better gaming group. I know we are all limited by our circle of friends and to those who have the enoumous amount of free time needed to devote to our esteemed hobby. But, damn it, I want to find good players. I wan't players who will show up to game sessions (barring personal tradgety, natural disasters, or starvation) and not give lave excuses like... I have a life and I need to go spend time with my girlfriend. I don't have a social life? Why should my players need one? Am I being unreasonable, unsensable? Yes, most of my existance is devoted to gaming.

Now how do you find those magical qualities of reliability, ability to say In-character, enthusiam, and intellegence? I don't know... do I have to advertise in the personals? Or must I go to all of the gaming shops in the city and recruit those with the right stuff? Must we be shackled to those horrible role-players who we must and rightfully call friends? I must know what to do? Is there anybody who knows?

Dying of Banality in Kirksville, Chas

Yeah, well, in my experience, roleplaying is often a pastime where people who don't actually like each other, and would never normally never be friends, come together, and attempt to have a good time together. And fail horribly.

There is nothing harder than getting the right group together. (Or maybe it's just the people I hang around with).

Though saying this our current group is pretty good, they did agree to playtest pimp after all...

James Jarvis wrote:

Hi, I thought I'd share an idea with you guys having just seen a program called "so you want to marry a multi-millionaire?" (well some of it anyway) and i realized a great article, from someone with far more talent then me, would be somethign along the lines of "So, You want to marry a gamer?". It is a great idea, discuss gamer dating,courtship and mating habits. I decided my wife was a potentialy desireable female when the first time we got together a pair of ten sided dice came rolling out of her purse when we were settling the bill,(she was actually splitting the bill with me and she had gamer dice) brilliant reason right? Heck, maybe it is a good idea of a feedback poll, it couldn't help but be funny and shed a slightly embarassing light on a part of all gamers lives that is usually ... not very well develeoped.

- James D. Jarvis

So let me get this straight. You are asking us to believe that you, a gamer, is:

1) Married?

2) Married to a women who is prepared to split the bill?

3) Married to a women who, from your mention of mating habits, presumably lets you sleep with her?

4) Married to a women who not only games, but carries dice around in her purse?

No way! That's just not right. There's no such women. There can't be. I'm having a horribly miserable life so I don't see why any other gamers should be able to have their cake and eat it.

Not that I'm in any way bitter or twisted, you understand.

Stephen wrote:

Hi there guys,

Just found Critical Miss today; congrats, it's a fine, fine mag. I just wanted to write briefly because I had a very similar experience to Johnny with a short-lived character (similar to his reply to a letter in issue 3).

The game: Skyrealms of Jorune (good game too, if anyone remembers it). My character: Voceridith. My absolute all time favourite character. A little background: Vo was created when my previous character was mercilessly killed in about game two of the campaign. The previous character was created as a proper 'roleplaying character', with a personality and everything. He was a fat merchant who could fast talk, but couldn't fight for shit. Consequently he got killed in the jungle by something that looked like a giant slug, as I remember.

Yeah, it's difficult to method roleplay when your guts have been relocated to somewhere quite different.

Anyway... with the merchant killed, I was really quite pissed off - it takes a while to create a character for Jorune. So while everyone else was off continuing the game, I was in another room, seething over the rulebook, and erasing my previous stats, muttering evilly.

What, they just chucked you out and carried on playing? No counselling?

I decided, quite simply, to create the most lethal fighter I could, and then model his personality upon Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson's character in Lethal Weapon: and I'm talking about the first movie here, not the shitty, watered-down sequels). Vo was thus born, deficient in just about everything except strength, constitution, sword skill, and anger.

I present this character to the GM, who notes he's a bit one-dimensional, but doesn't seem to care much. I'm introduced to the group in some perfunctory way (really liked your
article on that by the way) and then the campaign continues. Fair enough.

Next week, two new players arrive. (This was a gaming club with a fairly fluid membership.) They spend a heck of a lot of time rolling up their characters. They come into the game. And this is where the GM makes his first, and indeed last mistake when dealing with Vo - he introduces the characters thusly:

GM: OK, you come around the corner and see these two guys blocking the passage. [Description follows]

Me: "Who the fuck are you?" [I tended to get to the point as Vo]

Player 1: "No-one talks to us like that!" I put my hand on my sword, get ready to draw it.

Player 2: I do the same.

Me: I draw my sword in a flash, and run the first guy through. [Rolling my dice, hoping to hell I'll actually pull it off] That's a critical, isn't it?

GM: [Now rather worried] Er, yes. [To Player 1] His sword goes straight through you. You're dead.

Me: "Die!" I hack at the other one. [Rolls] He'll be dead too then.

GM: Fuck.

I don't think we actually got told the character's names, as it happens. The players in question weren't too happy, but the GM had rather underestimated my decision to play Vo as, essentially, a psychopath with suicidal tendencies. They, er, didn't come back to the next session. Over the course of the campaign I became quite proud of the fact that every single location on Vo's 'critical hit chart' had been hit, repeatedly... and he was still standing.

What was fairly funny was the other player's reactions, who after sitting there open-mouthed for a second, all said "Yeah, too right, no-one pulls swords on us...." Whether this was because of good roleplaying or fear that Vo was about to do the same to them, I'm not sure.

Ahh, happy days. Maybe when I've got more time I'll write with more details of misadventures with that character. I could tell you a fair bit about Giving Players The Dramatic Pay-Off, which Vo experienced in a very memorable session...

keep up the good work chaps

stephen (in south london)

Matt Devney wrote in with some thoughts on the mag, roleplaying, my unhealthy obsession with Tatoo girl and his attempt to hideously overcook a D&D character:

Oops! Caps lock again...

Hi Jonny N & Bubba, howzitangin?

Whussup Dude.

Just found out about your little e-zine whilst at work and, after spending a further 3 hours at the office (after hours - so I'm not even getting paid for it!) I've finally read all the back issues. You've got one funny site here! I'm sending this e-mail to letters just in case I can think of anything interesting that you might put up on your 'IMHO' section (don't hold your breath here) but really I'm just doing a bit of 'credit-where-it's-due' stuff (or brown-nosing, whatever you want to call this obsequious little e-mail). In any case, edit this thing whichever way you want, and put it wherever you like, is what I'm trying to say.

I think I can beat your 10 second crash-and-burn idea for a campaign, and even the most recent one which came in at about 3 seconds, with this little anecdote:

Our little gaming group was around the little gaming table with our little gaming accessories, little gaming diversions from gaming, little gaming incosequentials and big fat gaming snacks (you get the idea right?) talking about Authurian legends. We were chatting about the amount of adventures that went on in l'Morte d'Arthur (or however it's supposed to be spelt), and all of a sudden I thought 'Hey! I could do a campaign based on this stuff'. No sooner had that errant thought entered my head (I hadn't even voiced it) when one of our more 'dice-driven' players said "But I'd wanna fuck everyone over as Merlin! Yeah! Kazam! That'd be cool! Shit all over Mordred I would - and that Morgana bitch - I'd shag her too before cutting her head off... and her tits."

The scary thing is that I can just visualise that entire scene. It kindof just explains why roleplayers that actually do have girlfriends DON'T bring them along to the game.

The idea for the campaign died as soon as that player opened his mouth. Total time: just under two seconds. Bet no-one beats that.

Your 'review' of Cyborg Commando had me laughing my nuts off. And your very first Soul Thought was so... inspiring (although I'm not sure there IS such a thing as a 'bad fuck', although I recognize the 'good shits' when I have 'em ;-})

Speaking of Soul Thoughts, Jonny has hit upon a truism that I've been all too aware of for some time: being what Jonny defines as 'a chimp' I'm always getting the shitty end of the stick on this one... but I'm not bitter. BTW, you say 'Tattoo Girl' is pretty cute, but no piccies on your site! Something wrong with that (and the frequency with which you refer to her strikes me as a rather unhealthy obsession also - just call me Dr. Devney)

Funny you should say that, because that's pretty much what she thinks.

Actually we all know that the Obsession with Tattoo girl is unhealthy.

Apart from that I've not much else to say, except come on with iss. 5! Just in case you want to author a D&D 'freaky PC' article, here's my best efforts to outbalance a 2nd level character (using PO:S&P, PO:C&T, CboE*):

Name: Vylyleryrzyralya X. MorningStarShineShit

Elven fighter

Level: 2

(has to be 2 to show his true potential - D&D tries to limit starting characters, but it all goes to hell at 2nd level - watch and learn)

Elf Character Points(45): spent on infravision (-5), sword bonus(-5), balance bonus(-10), another 25 on inconsequential stuff (used for roleplaying). Can't save any from this bit.

STR: 18/01

DEX: 19 (balance is 20)

CON: 17

INT: doesn't really matter, but give him a high-ish score so you get 5 bonus CPs.

WIS: doesn't matter

CHA: REALLY doesn't matter

Stats are maxed out, because really you can keep rolling 'til you get these kind of scores. NB: Without these you'll never truly be hard at low level, high physical stats are a must to wreck a game initially. I've not given a stupidly high STR score because rolling percentile dice gets a bit boring after a while, unless you cheat. In any case, 18/01 is high enough.

Fighter points(15):

limited weapons - melee (+5)

limited weapons - thief (+5) (limits him quite a bit, but don't worry, he can still use the longsword)

improved HD: d12 (-10)

weapon specialization (-5)

Save remaining 10 for later.

Non-weapon proficiencies (6):

ambidextrous trait (-5)

Save one for later.

Weapon proficiencies (8):

intelligence bonus (+5)

points from class (+10)

Now, at 1st level, a fighter can only spend a max of 12 points on WP :-( so here goes:

bladesinging (from CboE) (-8)

longsword - prof. & spec. (-4)

Save 11 for later.

This gives my bladesinger 3/2 attacks, at a total bonus of +4 to hit /+4 damage. He can also give himself another +2 to hit any time he wants, or +2 AC, or a free parry (using the aforesaid +4 bonus). These abilities (plus rerolls from all the accumulated CP he's saved) should help him get to level two, which is where the fun starts.

Level 2 points(3, it being the standard):

bonus from points left from level one (+12)

single weapon style spec.*2 (-4)

two-weapon style spec.*2 (-5)

weaponsmithing (-5)

Leave one remaining (don't care about it, because nothing costs only one point).

Now with the cash he'll have accumulated from level one adventuring, he buys plate-mail, he also buys some time in a local forge, to produce a weapon of quality (+1 to-hit bonus) He'll be able to do it with enough time... he's got high-ish intelligence.

So his final stats looks like:

HP: 30 (Max. This doesn't really matter because I never intend on him getting hit, see AC below)

AC: -4 (3 from platemail, -5 from DEX/balance, -2 from Single Weapon Style). It can go up to -6 if Bladesinging is used in defense. This means that, at second level, this guy can have 6HD creatures only hitting him on 20s (5% of the time), and 16HD (among the most powerful in the game, apart from dragons & demons) only hitting him half the time (giving him maybe a round to run away).

#Atks: 3/2. It can go up to 5/2, but then his AC is limited to 'only' -2, and he can't use bladesinging in offence or defense.

Thac0: 14 (equivalent to a 6HD creature). It can go even better to 12 if Bladesinging is used in offence, but then #Atks must stay at 3/2.

Dmg/attack: 1d8/1d12 + 4 (not brilliant, but the best you can get at this level, and at 5/2, with attacks hitting roughly 40% of the time (not many opponents will have AC better than 2 at this level), that's an average of 20hp damage per round - more than enough... to take out 3HD-6HD creatures in 1-2 rounds)

And there you have it. It gets even more gross and whacked out as the higher levels come and Mastery & Grand Mastery start making an appearance, but I'll leave it there for now. Happy Nightmares. Please note that while he is a walking stat-threshing blender of a character, he is just an elf - and is very much a viable character (and not a freak like your gem-hero).

* These are: Player's Option: Combat & Tactics, Player's Option: Skills & Powers, Complete book of Elves.

That's all for now - I have to go do some work :-( Have fun, and don't play too hard! Check out the signatures! Sad huh?

Matt Devney


Version: 3.12

GCS d-(+) s+:+ a- C@$ U@ P L E? W+ N++@ o? K? w+@ O? M- V? PS PE? Y PGP? t@ 5@ X+ R+@ tv+ b++ DI+@ D+ G(-) e++(*) h--(!) r y?


Jason wrote:

Critical Miss is the funniest thing I've read since the preview for 3rd edition dungeons and dragons.

Well we do have a big advantage. I don't think that the preview was supposed to be funny...

I've got one little tidbit of advice for game masters out there: Don't let economics majors get rich in your game. The game that I ran, the party came back to town loaded down with an obscene amount of coinage. Everyone immediately set about spending theirs in a typically fantasy fashion, i.e. buying up taverns and burning them down, getting magic items made, and paying for damages to the town. Everyone that is, except for the economics major. He started buying property and legitimate businesses.

My hobbit once tried to sell house insurance in the shire...

He knew that I was paying attention to the obvious things that the party was doing, so he discretely set about buying up large chunks of this town, and the surrounding countryside, at the book value I gave him. By the time everything was said and done, he had complete control of everything bought, sold, and traded to the public in town. He forced the peaceful government out, and set his fellow party members up in every position of authority. His corporation then started to use a combination of payoffs and strong arm tactics to dominate every other little village and city in the area. They no longer felt the need to adventure to gain their money, and had just started up a magical item production line when the area was wiped out by the goblin horde they forgot to pay off. The bottom line is always be careful what you let your players get their fingers into.

Nick wrote:

More boring Maths stuff, infact the only non maths thing in his entire letter can be skipped to by pressing here...

Hey there, just "thumbing" through your quite enjoyable site and came across Issue 4's "What I hate about Percentile" article. While the author seems to make a valid point, changing the range of the possible outcomes skews (however slightly) the odds in the players' favor. Here's why:

A percentile system seems to operate on the principal that an average action has a 50/50 chance of success. This is reflected by the range of 1 to 100, with equal chances for the gamer to arrive on either side of 1-50 or 51-100. Ultimately, rolling in this range should produce an average result of 50.5 on the dice; in other words, right down the middle of the average difficulty. If, however, the range is changed to 0 to 99, the new average result becomes 49.5, which (again, slightly) favors the player rolling in a "low-roll-equals-success" RPG system. A gamemaster of such a system should scoff at the idea of removing a "worst" result and adding a new, lower "best". I should also note that there are a few games in existence which use percentile in the opposite fashion, that being a "high-roll-equals-success" system, such as the old TSR Marvel game. Players would be loath to change their dice range to 0-99 if 100 gave them their best result.

That being said, I would never argue with an accepted "house rule" approved by the gamemaster that made the rolling range 0-99, I would just be prepared for slightly increased difficulties, adjusted for the range change.

Another option could be the removal of the zero-zero roll altogether, forcing players to reroll that result. This would change the percentile range to 1-99 (average 50) without favoring either player or GM. This way, uptight players could diffuse their anxiety over that 0 on the "tens" die and the gamemaster won't have to snicker at them so much for it.

Of course, there is one last option: consider the zero on the "tens" to be one hundred at all times. This will create the rather confusing and harsh range of 11-109 (average 60), and throw the players into a state of severe caution or panic...but at least they'll know what to expect.

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work!


Is there anyone out there who agrees with me about the percentiles? :(


Dennis wrote on the vexed subject of guns:

Letters, or, 'To Whom It May Concern:'

It is oftentimes quite difficult to explain facets of life in one's country and convey the feelings and sensibilities that go along with them. I am referring to the Critical Miss #3 article
'Americana'. I take the risk of holding myself up to ridicule and skepticism to offer a look at one man's opinion concerning the following sentence fragment:

". . . paranoid delusionists who think guns still have a place in society . . ."

My knee-jerk reaction is to wish the person-ends up in a situation that a firearm will mean the difference between life and death. After I take a deep breath, I realize that I may disagree with what they have to say but I carry my sidearm in part to defend their right to say it. Most of my attitude can be attributed to the book 'The Probability Broach' by L. Neil Smith, which I read at the tender age of 15:

"People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically right."

Wear a gun to someone else's house, you're saying, "I'll defend this home as if it were my own."

LIKE FUCK IT DOES! Wear a gun to my house and you won't get near the door!

And anyone who objects levels the deadliest insult of all: "I don't trust you unless you're rendered harmless!"

Just because I don't carry a Gun that makes me harmless..?

I've never believed that I would be able to stand before any group of armed individuals who intended harm to me and mine and come out of it alive, but I would find it very difficult to live with myself knowing I could have and not taken the chance.

Many people say we as a nation should disarm our populous as your nation has done. Many people say we as a nation should continue our war on drugs. I disagree with both, largely on the same grounds. Just as I know I have the right to keep and bear arms, I-do not believe anyone has the right to tell me how I may medicate or intoxicate myself. The same document guarantees both rights.

OK so now your telling us you dable in the drugs and you carry a gun, remind us in a mail sometime where you live so we never go there...

I've never used my sidearm to defend myself or anyone else. I've never used one to take a life. I hope I never do. I always feel more than the weight of it on my hip; I also bear the awesome responsibility of its safe carry and use.

I hope someday you who go through the effort of publishing this ezine lose your fear of armed Americans. Most Americans do not go armed in their daily lives, but I do not fear the rest of us who do. Most of us who-carry have a love of our nation, our neighborhoods, our families and ourselves. We do not wish to see any of these come to harm. I can only hope I have successfully conveyed to you an insight to the feelings and sensibilities of one American's point of view.



I think we're probably not ever going to agree on this one. Basically, if I was in the States it's not you I'd fear but the nutter down the street with severe mental problems, a grudge against society and a gun. If he breaks into my house, the fact that you have a gun in your house isn't going to protect me.

But to try to put this whole discussion to bed, we're English, and as such have a pretty different view on the subject. We're not interested in telling Americans how they should organise their country, and we do recognise that it is a more complex issue than it might first appear.

The article in Issue 3 was written by one of our American readers. In fact, if you read the two guides published in this issue (on Russia and Northern California you'll see that we are now putting a disclaimer at the top making it clear that any opinions expressed in the piece are those of the author, not us.

Anyhow, thanks for the letter.

When I read letters like yours my 'knee-jerk' reaction is to write something just as stupid and offensive in response. It's something I do well, just ask anyone who was a member of the chat group, and being as I get the final say here people will read what I have to say.

I have no time for Whining Gun Nuts in my day to day life so why should I waste the time on you.

I have been in places and situations where carrying a gun to defend yourself IS a way of life and IS justified. I have never been to a place in the US where I could say the same.

After discussing this with JN I have decided that I will not use this as my personal forum to make comments that will probably start a flame war. Suffice to say I don't think we are ever going to see eye to eye on this and as this is a roleplaying fanzine and not a political forum, this subject should finish here.

If the article in question caused offence I am sorry. When we published Issue 2's 'Roleplaying in Blighty' the last paragraph asked for American readers to explain to us Brits what the US is really like. From what I have seen of the US the article was pretty spot on as to what the average Person in the street is like.

I actually asked a couple of my friends in the US to read the article just to make sure it was OK and as they did not express any offence the article went up as you see it. You can't please all of the people all of the time and as we cater for the Majority I am sorry we hurt your feelings. If you don't like what's in an article then read a different one.

Anyway back to the fun stuff...

Damian K. wrote on the subject of percentile dice:

Oh Fuck More Maths! Click here to skip the boring bit...

Though I figure you'd probably get about a dozen letters with similar content I'll add this to the pile.

Go ahead, dump more on me...

The D100 system does work. Just as a D6 creates a random number between one and six and a D8 a number between one and eight the D100 (percentile dice) is supposed to create a random number from between one and a hundred. Like any other die it starts at one, not zero, and can produce any number up to one hundred. D100 was not created to determine the digits in the ones and tens place but produce a number from one to one hundred.

If your charachter has a percentage chance for success and has to roll equal to or under a certain percentage number to succeed the logic is clear. At a 0% chance of success you can't possibly succeed, the very definition of no chance. If you roll double zero for a zero-percentage result, as per the system you deem logical, you can succeed at something that had zero probability (no chance ever!) of being done. If it has a 2% chance of success any result of 2 or under is successful, a 50% chance any roll of 50 or under is successful. At a sure thing, 100% chance, all results, up to and including 100, are successful

Damian K.

Damian K. wrote again, this time on the subject of point nine recurring:

This guy has a one track mind.... Click
here, you know it makes sence.

Why am I going to war on the math questions today, I hate math, anyway. Point three reoccuring ( to be refered to from here on as *.3REC* because I can't do the dot) is not equal to one . *.3REC* is only an aproxination of 1/3 it is actually one divided by infinity (1/infinity) short of one third. *.9REC* is also short of one by that amount. *.9REC* is one minus one divided by infinity (1- (1/infinity)). Pi = a circle's circumfrence divided by it's radius. 1/3 equals one divided by three. Both of them cannot be exactly expressed by decimals. 1/3 on the other hand can be expressed as a fraction with total accuracy

Here's a mental exercise to help you imagine the difference. Every day you will travel half way from heresville to theresville. But not halfway the distance between the two cities but halfway from your current location to theresville. If theresville and heresville are 16 miles apart you'd travel 8 miles the first day, 4 the next, 2 the next, 1 the next, then half, then a quarter. You traveled total of 15 and 7 eighth miles. Theresville is just an eighth of a mile away, you can shout to it's friendly citizens. If you keep this up you will never make it you'd be making a progress of just a few steps per day in a while, after that fractions of inches movement and just fractions of inches away. Eventually you'd have to move in sub-atomic increments and even though you are moving at a sub nanometer pace you're still getting closer every day. Keep this up forever and you'd be seperated from theresville by the same kind of distance (maybe not the exact same difference, but conceptually similar) that *.9REC* is seperated from one.

Damian K.

I have dreams like that...

Lorun pretty much hit the nail on the head:

Love the zine! Just a note on your soul thought for issue 4: You probably are a bitter twisted geek that needs to get out more. If you weren't, you probable wouldn't be doing Critical Miss. You are also absolutely right. Women love a bastard.


Guilty as charged.

Thank you Lorun for not mentioning Maths once in your mail...

Kyle wrote feeling somewhat persecuted:

This one is Maths free too though it does talk about die rolls...

I've been playing for about 6 month every friday and I've messed up so many times on my rolls it is not funny.(well actually it is) I've broken at least 3 bow in a month period no one in the group would lend me bow anymore. My "partner" beside me critally misses to hit the closes person to him a.k.a Me. Guess what he rolls a critical hit and takes off my arm so I go down. I get teleported and mess up my system shock twice while I do have 97% so you guys should consider yourselves lucky.

Steve (who has clearly never met Tatoo Girl) wrote:

Steve (Who has never Met Tatoo Girl but who CLEARLY knows her) wrote:

Cute little kiwi? As an advantage? Are you INSANE?

In my country (Australia), Kiwis are hunted down and killed like the invading vermin they are. No matter how cute they are. Because, well, their country sucks. I mean, it's like Australia, only even worse. And they have far too many sheep than any country should have.

Cute Little Scot would perhaps be a good equivalent in Australia. Maybe also Irish, although then you have to contend with the strong posibility of a Celtic fetish and a Michael Flatley record collection. Shudder.

Oh well, keep up the good word.


Cute lil Irish Lass.... Has a nice ring to it...

Foreveryoung wrote:

... nothing interesting unless you are like maths... Click
here to skip it!

There's this simple matter in percentile dice....

It doesnt matter which system you use.... the results are the same, regardless of whether 00 means 0 or 100..... if you roll both dice at the same time, they settle at roughly the same time, so you dont need to worry about it.....

but, im with you, it makes little sense, when taking a programming view at it.....

make it a range of 0-99 plus 1, if you ever program it.....

neh... whatever...., if you care.

Someone with an unpronounceable email name wrote:

I'm a DM/player and aspiring artist from LI,NY,USA....

Firstoff I would just like to congratulate you on a great zine. I think it's healthy for RPG nuts to have a good sense of humor especially about themselves. Those that do not are usually kinda scary, don't have very good hygiene, and are just no fun to be around. What type of humor do you like George Carlin? Eddie Izzard? Knights of the Kitchen table? Mel Brooks? My dream movie would have Mel Brooks as the director, George Carlin as the villain, and Robin Williams as the hero, A D&Dish spoof with tons of cameos.

Maybe next time I'll share some actually humorous info. But its 3:30 in the morn right now...and my mind is numb...

Lord Refa wrote:

Something indirectly about Maths so I'll let it pass...

im almost disappointed.... computer savvy role players need to buffer their feelings, so as to be felt popular? since when has anyone who was into computers, or played your average RPG really cared about popular opinion?

my problem is this:

after being instructed that someone's feelings were hurt, i should vote down an article about math. i felt this was stupid, unfair and against my general policy of honesty (which does deviate occasionally). I mechanically voted this write-up as high as i could, often enough to skew the results (being the responsible miscreant, i am), the reason being this:

In a small, tiny part of Critical Miss is a bit of html that reads the following: "Thank you. Your ratings have been received. Your feedback will help us create a better magazine." I thought to myself, 'doesnt creating an article to take all the bad rap defeat this purpose?'....

i ask, politely that my letter be included in issue 5, if not, please take it into careful consideration. the voting system does us all a service, it finds out what opinions are not wanted and/or what writing is poor, mechanically. if it's an opinion that's being voted down, tell the rest of the world to sod off. (im american, just thought id give a small salute to you bastards that wore bright colors and fought wars in a straight line, when it made a difference.)

wow, that's the most writing ive done this semester.... maybe i should go write my term paper..... or i could go play Shadowrun....

I'm sure Ed the maths geek will thank you for voting for him.

Just wanted to make it clear that if you send a letter to then it WILL get published. I am tired of JN bragging about his full mailbox (he gets about 4 times as mutch mail as the letters account) when I am sure that over 25% of the mail he gets should go to Letters.

So again: If you want your letter published then mail
If you want to send a private mail to the Editor then Mail
If you want to send a private mail to the Webmaster then Mail
If you want to send a mail to one of the team send it to them direct.

Someone paranoid with no name or return address wrote:

You know the drill, click here to skip the maths...

Normally I am just one of those gamers that sits and reads other people articles, and occasionally shouts at the screen when a particularly stupid thing is said, but this time I just couldn't let it rest.

That bad, huh?

In the article "What I hate about percentile systems", we have some maths expert computer programmer telling us that the percentile system is wrong.

Err... that was me actually. I'm not a maths expert, but yes, in real life I am a computer programmer as I have already confessed in my bio.

Now please forgive me if I am wrong, but surely the idea of a percentile system is to generate a random number, from a group of numbers within a range of 100. The only real pre-requisite is that there is an equal chance of rolling any one of those one-hundred numbers. Therefore, if the range of numbers is 0-99, as in the standard percentile system, then there is an equal 1/100 chance of rolling any number. Does it really matter that you do not know with the roll of your first dice, that you have passedthe check?

I think it's more the surge of childish excitement I get when the first one comes up zero (forgetting about the one hundred thing) then the crashing disappointment when the second dice also comes up zero. It gets me every time, and every time everyone laughs at me.


Is not the fun of role-playing increased by the tension of not knowing exactly what the fate of your character is, until the dice have finally come to rest? Surely this article was written by a man (or woman) more interested in the dice than the background, a so called roll-player.

Hey! I am Mr Method Roleplayer. Ish.

It is the colour and atmosphere of the role-playing background that initially interested me in role-playing. It is this background that keeps me interested in role-playing. Why dwell on mathematical idiosyncrasies, when a whole world has been painstakingly created by your GM for you to enjoy? My real point is, are you actually enjoying playing these games? And if not why don't you let the dice do what the dice will do, and get on with immersing yourself in the background, and your character.

I think my point is that it's the roleplaying that counts, and that rules, systems and dice are a necessary evil. As such, those rules need to be smooth and seamless. Every time a "jagged edge" in the system catches you, you become aware of the rules, and that stops you roleplaying.

Now I have got that off my chest, I am going to eat some lunch. Goodbye.

P.S. I have never had a D&D character survive beyond 5th level, and this is a success in comparison to my attempts in other systems, yet I still love role-playing.

When I first started playing D&D at around age 13, we never completed an adventure and always had new 1st level characters. Then I played a soloish (me and GM) game and got a character upto 3rd level. (Admittedly this was a bit dodgy because their were some NPCs but he let me keep all the treasure, but I did at least complete the scenario).

Suddenly next week, after the other players had heard about this, they all had a load of 7th, 8th and 9th level characters that they insisted were "legal". (They came up with a load of crap about how they had spent the previous six months doing secret roleplaying sessions that didn't include me).

(And yes, I was very naive in those days).

It got to the point where we played a 7th to 9th level adventure, and so I had to have a 7th level thief created for me (the GM got it out of the back of the scenario). I couldn't just play a 1st level character because there was a bit where you go across a desert and take D6 hit points damage per level.

Anyhow, my character was still a lot more crap than their's because he had just basic equipment (e.g. leather armour) while they were loaded down with loads of magic items.

And with all this, I had to put up with them persistently taunting me about how I was playing with a "cheated" character.

It was years before they'd admit that, yes, they'd simply cheated and made their characters up.

Not that I'm in any way bitter or twisted.

Aethos has thought about the leisure cyberwear we did in issue 6 and gone where we feared to tread:

I thought about the
LeisureWare you mentioned back in issue three. You challenged the readers to find a use for the gear mentioned there; I have.

I think that was supposed to be a joke...

A Shadowrun character built around the HappySac· and ShaftMaster·:

Streetname: Shaft

Race: Elven

Notes: The man with a detachable penis... which is also a lethal weapon.


4 Race (Elven)

3 Stats (24)

2 Resources (75,000)

1 Skills (I dunno-- and it doesn't matter, either.)

0 Magic (He doesn't need spells to work his magic.)

Stats: (only 2 vital ones; then spread the points to taste: Quickness is a good bet.)

Cha: 6(8, with bonus)

Wil: 5 or 6 (to help with the seduction...)

Skills: (three that you'll need)

Stealth: 6

Seduction: 6 (try to get this as a specialization of acting, if possible.)

Poisons: 6




I think you see where this is going: combine the ShaftMaster· and the HappySac· with an Elven charisma of 8, and you have the most... er.. potent delivery system for poisons yet known to man. Utilizing a veterinary sedative that paralyzes and then biodegrades (it's real, and almost impossible to track... I forget its name, though. There was a murder case in the US where it was involved.) this particular Elf would have a killer embrace... and would be almost impossible to catch, since the deaths would look like heart attacks. Considering the nature of the character, this makes sense. A perfect corporate assassin.

Role-playing Shaft:

This is every horny 13 year-old's dream character. You'll get all the girls, since power characters tend to have low Charisma... (just don't flaunt it or you'll end up dead in an alley with an 18 inch artificial penis shoved down your throat)

Gagging on your own penis... pretty surrealistic way to go.

As far as combat goes, you may want to get a very high stealth skill... either that or get the reflexes, plop a 6 into firearms and blast away. Just remember: either hit first with overwhelming firepower or run away-- this character has the combat life expectancy of Hugh Grant... (you ARE a love machine, after all!)

Also: remember to drain the poison after a job. It's bad form to go bumping people off accidentally when you're trying to relax...

That would be a bummer.


PS: If the poisons don't get 'em, the STDs will!!

Thomas Shermam, of the Ad Max Agency apparently felt that our readers would be interested in his banner program since he sent the following to (of course, more cynical people might think he's just a bastard spammer who sent this to a few million addresses):

Make Its Way with Webmaster Program

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If you don $B!G (Bt or if you are not sure, please click here to find out how it really works! You won $B!G (Bt regret glancing over our profitable Webmaster Program page for your sake.

Your success is our success!! You WILL earn money without your own investment, risk or worry! Placing a banner is all you need to do. Sign-up would be completed in 5 minutes. (If you still are not content with the above explanation, please visit our Webmaster Program FAQ page to know all about it.

To discontinue receipt of further notice and to be removed from our database, please reply with the word "Remove" in subject.

Thomas Sherman Ad Max Agency

Dear Thomas,

Fuck off. Stop spamming me.

P.S. Some people might think I am being a bit harsh. I feel I should point out that when you send a letter to, an automated reply is sent back warning you that we will publish the email. This is so that anyone sending to the wrong address in error can email us to tell us not to publish. Thomas never got back to me...

Dave wrote:


Unfortunatly after such a great start Dave started talking about Math, click here.

There's nothing wrong with having a 00 represent 100 instead of 0. First, no other die generates a zero, so it may stand to reason that a percentile roll cannot generate a zero. Second, there's nothing inconsistent with having only the zero generate the "anamolous" result of 100. The function representing the result need not be so simple as f = 10x + y. The function can be f = 0 or 10x + y, where f = 0 if and only if x and y are both 0. While this is slightly more complex, it is no more complex in terms of ability to compute for the average player.

Computer programmers may begin counting with zero, but in fact that is only partly true. Just as every natural number can be mapped onto every natural even, and so the number of evens is equal to the number of naturals, the "first" number for programmers happens to be symbolized by "0" whereas the "first" number for people counting things happends to be symbolize by "1". Sure, the meanings of the values of those first numbers differs, but their still nothing more than the first numbers in the respective systems.


I think I disagree with what you're saying, but you've said it in too clever a way for me to be sure.

Dave wrote again about point nine recurring:


Again after such a great start Dave started talking about Math, click
here to skip.

I've always looked at this in a slightly different (albeit mathematically equivalent) way.

1/9 = 0.1111... 2/9 = 0.2222... etc. 7/9 = 0.7777... 8/9 = 0.8888...

1/9 + 8/9 = 9/9 = 1 but also, 1/9 + 8/9 = 0.1111... + 0.8888... = 0.9999...


1 = 0.9999....


PS What do you think about this impossible convention? Suppose these two numbers: x = 0.9999999999999999999999999999999999(insert infinite number of 9's here)8 and y = 0.9999999999999999999999999999999999(insert infinite number of 9's here)7.

First and foremost, if there really are infinitely many 9's "in between" the decimal and the "final" digit, then there really aren't infinitely many digits, because there wouldn't be an end. On the other hand, the two numbers represented above make sense in some sort of way (okay, so they're not well formed according to Russell's and Whitehead's Principia, but so what?). So, my question is, given this unusual way of representing numbers, is x>y? And if so, by how much?

I think I can prove two answers. One is that x>y but only by the amount that 1>0.9999.... which , of course, also doesn't make sense, but it looks good in print. The second is that x>y by precisely one infinitesimal, that is, the width of a delta-x from good-ol' first-semester calculus.

Hmm... I think the amount x-y is a good way of representing the degree of attraction that Tatoo Girl feels for me.

Super Saiya-Jin scraped this message in just before our cut off point:

Just saw your mag today (June 22) and it kicks ass! I'm definatley subscribing! You guys know what a role-playing mag should be like!

Super Saiya-Jin >8-)>

Thanx, another satisfied customer who felt no need to mention maths once in his mail.

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